Sicily, AMG Occupation in WW2 (1943 – 1944)

ALBUM – view my AMG Occupation of Sicily album
TRANSITION CHART – Italy after unification

Region: Italy Area
Group: WW2 Occupations of Italy
Classification: Occupations
Prior Regime: Italy
Key Dates:
  1943, Jul 10 – American and British military landed on Sicily
  1943, Aug 17- Messina captured
  1944, Sept 30 – Transition to general AMG occupational administration
Following Regime: AMG Occupation of Italy
Scott Catalogue: (Italy, AMG) #1N1-1N9
Pick Catalogue: (Italy) #M10-M23


History

Gen. Montgomery and Gen. Patton at an airfield near Palermo, Sicily, Italy (28 Jul 1943)
After military successes in North Africa, the allies set their sights on Italy. The invasion was designed to achieve three major goals, 1) to dominate the Mediterranean area, 2) to remove Italy from the war, or at least score a major propaganda points, 3) to divert troops from France, where a major invasion was planned in 1944. Beginning in Sicily, the 7th American Army commanded by Gen. Patton and the 8th British Army commanded by Gen. Montgomery, landed in the island on 10 Jul, 1943, with a combined British-Canadian-American force.

The defending German and Italian forces were unable to prevent the Allied capture of the island, but succeeded in evacuating most of their troops to the mainland, the last leaving on 17 August Army landed in the ‘toe’ of Italy in Operation Baytown the day that the new Italian government agreed to an armistice with the Allies. The campaign in Italy was merely a springboard for a continued push into the rest of Italy. On 2 Sept, 1943, a small Allied force had landed on the “heel” of Italy, quickly taking the ports of Brindisi & Taranto. The following day, Montgomery’s Eighth Army crossed the Straight of Messina & landed in Calabria, on the “toe” of Italy. By early October, Naples and the whole of Southern Italy was in Allied control.

Realizing the Italian Army would be unable to repel the advancing army, the Italian Grand Council of Fascism rejected Mussolini with a vote of no confidence and asked King Victor Emmanuel to resume his full “constitutional powers”. The King had Mussolini imprisoned, and privately began negotiating an armistice with the Allies. On 8 Sept, 1943, as the Allies were moving into Southern Italy, the King publicly announced an agreement with the Allies without prior notice to his armed forces. Confusion reigned, as troops were unsure of how to react. Germany, who had been expecting such a move, quickly disarmed and captured Italian forces, including much of Italy. Many of those troops did not surrender and fought the Germans, while others joined the Allied forces.

On 12 Sept, 1943, the Germans rescued Mussolini from imprisonment, and on 23 Sept, he established the Italian Social Republic, a fascist state in northern Italy. While never more than a German puppet, it was largely dependent on German troops to maintain order, and was only recognized by Germany and its occupation

It took more 9 months and four major campaigns before the allied troops were able to march into Rome in June, 1944.
ITA - Sicily, AMG Occ Photo

Stamps

ALBUM
When the occupation of Sicily was completed, postal service was restored by A.M.G.O.T. (Allied Military Government of Occupied Territories). The original stamps for use in Sicily were printed with the legend “Allied Military Postage” and in the middle, one numeral on white background.

However, at the time of use, these were overprinted in black typography with the legend “Italy-Centesimi”, “Italy-Lira”, or “Italy-Lire” on two lines: one word above and one below the central number. The issuing of the values was staggered over time. The 15c value was issued on Aug 24, 1943; the 25c, 30c, 50c values and the 1 Lira were issued on Sep 17, 1943; the 2 Lira value was issued on Oct 14, 1943; the 60c value on October 15, 1943; and the 5 and 10 Lira values were issued on Oct 20, 1943. Nine separate values were printed. These stamps, issued for use by the Allied forces, were also used for the private correspondence within the island. Their last day of validity was Sep 30, 1944.

Banknotes

In 1943, two printings of Italian occupation money was issued by the Allies. The first was issued in 1, 2, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1.000 lire, and the second in 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1.000 lire.

Links

Invasion of Sicily and Italy’s Surrender at World War II Database
Liberation: The Sicilian Campaign – 1943
AMG Stamps at Alphabetilately
AMG Sicily stamp plate numbers from the American Plate Number Single Society

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